My work melds my Midwestern rural roots with a practice in contemporary textiles and sculpture. The meaning and intention behind material or process is important and my work is not just my own energy and intention. The hand-dyed Shetland sheep and alpaca wools in my textile work is of the land and sky that bore me. The material is also the result of the energy and care of my family for that land and the creatures on it. My intention is to foster a love of the natural world through exuberant color and imagery. I believe that spreading this love is not just a hobby or luxury but an act of survival for the human species facing our current challenges in stewardship of this one Earth.
In terms of process and technique, whether I work with thread and wool, resin, or works on paper, drawing is most often the primary act. I want people to be able to connect to my work on a basic, physical level and drawing is one of the first acts of creating we experience as children. So, I keep drawing close to my heart, while exploring alternative methods and materials. I use a sewing machine to draw with thread in my textile work and my current sculptural work utilizes a 3D printing pen to create dimensional lacework by hand. This melding of drawing and sculpture with textiles is also a means of recontextualizing “women’s work” through blending historical craft and the generational passing down of knowledge with contemporary practice.
Rachelle Gardner-Roe has been working as an artist in Kansas City since the mid-2000s. She grew up in the rural countryside outside of Adrian, MO and received a Bachelors in Interior Architecture from Kansas State University in 2004. This background in design allowed her to explore various media through a lifelong interest in the fine arts. Her emphasis in furniture design influenced her path in sculpture while her family’s fateful adoption of three sheep in the 1990s led to a herd and eventually a journey down the road of textiles (free material is great material as most artists will testify).
Gardner-Roe exhibits nationally, and works on public projects as well as private commissions. She has been awarded grants and residencies that allowed her to explore installations in the urban environment, study experimental processes at a national art center, and engage in theoretical research and development of signature techniques. She has exhibited regionally and nationally, including The Mulvane Art Museum, The Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, The Leedy-Voulkos Art Center and The Chautauqua Institution, among others. In the Kansas City metro area, her textile work can be found at Weinberger Fine Art and sculptural work at The Bunker Center for the Arts. Gardner-Roe lives and works in Mission, KS.